** * Xenobiology expedition 'Profundity': Log entry 634 * **
These things are remarkably tricky to study!!
Puffer lizards live on the open salt pans of Arbslex IV (an incredibly Earthlike planet), eking out an existence by snapping up the salt flies. Mostly they’re unassuming blue grey lumps on the floor, but when any predator gets anywhere near them they leap into the air and.. well.. they puff up, floating higher and higher away from the (primarily land based) predators of the salt pans before slowly deflating and landing a safe (large) distance away. When inflated the lizards exhibit remarkable lift, shooting into the air like a helium balloon that’s had it’s string cut.
As a result of this behaviour we’ve been unable to capture a live sample for testing, and so we can’t work out how the lizards are puffing up in such a way that they generate lift. We’ve found some (very badly degraded) corpses and can confirm an exceptionally light skeleton (on the order of grams for a foot long lizard) but the organ structure is anyone’s guess.
Question for you guys at HQ is how can these lizards rapidly generate lifting gas for their escape? If we can come up with some theories the field techs can work on non lethal capture methods, but for now we’re stuck watching these little blighters floating off into the distance.